Monday, December 31, 2012

"Black Monday": Who's In and Who's Out as NFL Head Coach

With the 2012 regular season wrapped up Sunday night, the NFL is still making huge headlines on Monday.  In what has been dubbed "Black Monday," there have been five head coaches officially fired, three general managers ousted and reports of at least one more coach and GM pair getting the axe.

No longer the longest tenured coach in the NFL, the Eagles have parted ways with Andy Reid.  He finishes with a 130-93-1 record, but in the past few seasons has managed to do absolutely nothing with his team.  He leaves with a franchise record 10 playoff wins as a head coach, and this is a perfect example of the 'what have you done for me lately' mentality in professional sports.

Former Patriots defensive coordinator and now former Chiefs head coach Romeo Crennel has been relieved of his command.  He bows out with a 28-55 record, and hopefully he can find another job soon because the top line of his Wikipedia page is just sad.

As a Bills fan, I'm not entirely sure how to feel about this.  Chan Gailey has been thrown out of Buffalo, and one can only hope he takes his defensive coordinator Dave Wannstedt with him.  The Bills were 16-32 under Gailey's guidance, and even though I'm biased, I think all they need is another piece or two, like that defensive coordinator, and they're easily up from a 6-10 season to 8-8 or better.

After missing the playoffs for five of the past six seasons, the Bears have finally cut ties with head coach Lovie Smith.  Coaching since 1980, he has been a head coach since 2004 in Chicago, leading them to an NFC Championship in 2006.  Its tough to win ballgames when your quarterback is Jay Cutler, but that will no longer be Smith's concern.

The Browns are undergoing a complete overhaul after firing not only head coach Pat Shurmur, but also GM Tom Heckert.  Shurmer finished with a 9-23 record in Cleveland, and Heckert never really had a shot either, with the two of them only combining for five years of experience in the Cleveland system.

The Jets also fired their GM, Mike Tannenbaum, but chose to keep the village idiot Rex Ryan.  The Jets skidded to a 6-10 season, which seemed like an 0-16 season the way the media portrayed them.  Refusing to play Tim Tebow when Mark Sanchez gave up four turnovers?  That's just embarrassing.  Oh well, its hilarious to watch them fail, anyway.

Finally, sources say that the San Diego Chargers will parts ways with GM A.J. Smith and head coach Norv Turner, but no official announcement has been made as of yet.  In his past three seasons, Turner has gone 24-24 with a turnover differential of -11.  Can't win football games that way.

All this news comes just one day after the season concluded, so it is unknown if more moves or firings are on the way, but I don't think we'll be hearing any of it until after the postseason.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hanrahan Named Closer Just Days After Signing

The Red Sox didn't waste any time naming new trade acquisition Joel Hanrahan the primary closer for the 2013 season.

Manager John Farrell had a conversation with presumed closer -- before the trade --  Andrew Bailey, in which he outlined the Sox plan for him and Hanrahan.  Bailey will be the primary set-up man for the former Pirates all-star.

So the back end of the bullpen is already set before going into spring training.  There's none of this, 'well, let's wait and see' attitude which plagued the team in plenty more areas than just the bullpen in 2012.  Right off the bat, Farrell is doing exactly what he said he would.  He's leading by example, drawing a line in the sand and making the tough decisions.

Bailey is not the type of guy who is going to sit there and cry about the hand he was dealt.  Instead, I'm sure he's glad to know his position so he can get to work mentally and physically preparing for the role he was held out of last season due to a nagging thumb injury.

So as Boston fills in the cracks in their roster, the team is starting to take shape.  In the pitching department, it appears they're working backwards, starting with the eighth and ninth inning guys and still trying to shore up their rotation.  Either way, as a Sox fan, I feel a little bit better knowing where at least one are of the team stands.

Great Day for College Basketball

Looking for something to watch while you're snowed in?  Can't go wrong with any of the college basketball games on Saturday.

UNC is hosting no. 20 UNLV which just tipped off, and should be one of the better games of the day.  UNC is undefeated at home this season, but UNLV has been a pretty surprising team thus far, stay tuned to that on ESPN2.

Michigan, Louisville, Kansas, Syracuse, Ohio State, Illinois, Florida, Creighton, Butler and Kansas State make up the top 25 teams that take the court today.  Unfortunately, it doesn't appear any of them will be playing opponents capable of an upset, but games during Christmas break can really go either way.  No. 4 Louisville is taking on a downtrodden Kentucky team, but with the Cardinals only loss coming to Duke, they're much too strong to let Kentucky into the game. 

The other close game could be between no. 20 Butler and Vanderbilt.  Butler is only a six point favorite, and Vanderbilt knows how to rock a house.  Again, a Christmas break game doesn't seem like a true home game, but we'll see how that goes come 8 p.m.

For any UConn fans out there, the no. 2 women tip-off against no. 1 Stanford out west, which should probably be the best game of the day, men's or women's.  The men face Washington which should be another tight game just like the Butler-Vandy game.

So kick back, relax and enjoy some of the nation's best teams in action on a Saturday.

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Productive Offseason for Boston? Well, Not Exactly

 The Boston Red Sox suffered through a 69-93 campaign, their first losing record since 1997.  Heck, even the pink hats suffered through this one; the entire city was miserable.  Most of the blame was tossed onto the back of then-manager Bobby Valentine, who has since been canned to make way for John Farrell, last seen in a Sox uniform in 2010.  Since the trade deadline of this past season, the Sox have been hard at work to right the ship, and now at the brink of 2013, they still have their fair share of work ahead.

The blockbuster trade of the decade came in July.  The Sox sent Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford, Josh Beckett and Nick Punto to the Dodgers, while LA sent back James Loney, Rubby de la Rosa, Ivan Dejesus, Jerry Sands and Allan Webster.  While the deal seemed to shake the Boston cityscape, there were very few in opposition to the trade.  It freed up the money the Sox had sunk into Gonzalez and Crawford for the next 5 years, and left them in a position for a big offseason.

With great money, comes great responsibility, if I may alter the phrase a bit.  So far, the Sox have been movers and shakers, but it looks like they are marching to the beat of their own drum here, snatching up players that were not very high on anyone's wish list anyway.

Jonny Gomes was signed on for two years, $10 million.  He joins a laundry list of characters to come over from the Rays including Crawford, Julio Lugo and Rocco Baldelli, all names that have continued to kill the Sox even wearing the home whites at Fenway.  His most significant moment in Rays history probably came when he took some cheap shots on Coco Crisp during a 2008 brawl between the two teams, so his most valuable asset may be on display in the clubhouse.

Another two year deal went to aging free agent pitcher Ryan Dempster.  He is another owner of a ridiculous starting pitching contract, worth $25 million, the going rate these days.  Dempster had an ERA over 5.00 in the American League pitching for the Rangers, and its unknown how many quality innings he'll log towards the back end of the rotation.

One of the better deals so far has been signing Shane Victorino to a three year, $39 million deal.  Victorino is a veteran outfielder, and although slowed somewhat by age, can still fly around the outfield and be a solid contact hitter to put at the top of the bottom of the batting order.  He figures to be a fan favorite in Boston, seeing as how he's already making significantly less than the two previous veteran outfielders signed (JD Drew and Crawford).

Catcher David Ross was signed to a two year, $6.2 million deal.  The 36-year-old is supposedly one of the best backups in baseball, but we all know the best backup already came and went through Boston: Doug Mirabelli.  If he can do anything similar to Mirabelli, he'll be a great addition.  He's known for his knowledge of the game, much like Jason Varitek, so hopefully he can settle the Sox starters down and really get them going.

But so far, the biggest deal has been made out of the team getting Mike Napoli for three years, $39 million.  A deal similar to Victorino's except for one small difference: he has not actually signed yet.  This article comes three weeks after Napoli agreed to sign in Boston, and still, his signature remains absent from the dotted line.  No one is sure what the deal is, but there are rumors about the deal now being for two years or that Napoli's physical did not go so well.  Either way, reports are surfacing now on Thursday that first basemen Adam Laroche is now back in the Red Sox' sights.  Just a mess, really.

With all this going on, general manager Ben Cherington has still found time to trade for a new closer, Joel Hanrahan, from the Pittsburgh Pirates.  Not sure where his priorities lie on the Napoli deal, but either way, Hanrahan is coming over with a prospect in exchange for Mark Melancon, Sands, Dejesus and Stolmy Pimentel.  For $4.1 million this year, the deal seems pretty sound, but eligible for arbitration for next season, Hanrahan may cost the team upwards of $7 million to keep around next year.

So moves have been made with hopefully a few more on the way, but right now Boston sits in a better position than they did last season, which isn't saying much yet.  With the extra money, it seems the front office has just thrown it at whoever they want, most of the time completely overpaying, but new blood in the system is a welcome sight.  They still need a premier starting pitcher, which they did not get in Dempster, a solid first baseman/utility man, which they did not get in Napoli, and an everyday right fielder which they did not get in Victorino or Gomes (although the two will work well out there platooning.)  There is still room for improvement, and as long as the Sox stay proactive, 2013 could be off to a promising start.

Winner: New Braves BP Logo, Loser: New Dolphins Logo

2013 is right around the corner, and at least two teams are giving their logos a makeover for the new season.  Both logos are unconfirmed at the moment, but rumors are flying about the Atlanta Braves and Miami Dolphins revamping their logos.

The Braves logo is said to be used exclusively for batting practice, and features their old "screaming Indian" (or "yelling brave") logo, and was scrapped in 1971.  A little controversial some say, at least compared to Chief Wahoo.

The Dolphins, well their logo is another casualty in the "hip" Miami sports scene.  With those weird shiny Heat jerseys and the Marlins' outlandish orange-blue-yellow combo, the new sleeker Dolphins look will fit right in.

Time will tell if these logos will be appearing on the heads of Atlanta's and Miami's athletes, but if you ask me, that Braves logo is long overdue and that Dolphins logo should never see the light of day.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Cody Ross Heading for the Desert

Well, boys and girls, it appears Cody Ross is heading west.  He'll join the Arizona Diamondbacks next season through 2015, a deal worth $26 million dollars.

Ross joins a crowded outfield with Justin Upton, Jason Kubel and Gerrardo Parra already established, but with a 22 home run season last year, the D-backs have to hope his power can replace Chris Young, who was traded to the Athletics in October.

A .267 average, those 22 home runs and 81 RBI is hardly a down year for Ross, with the latter two stats being close to career-highs.  The Red Sox were reportedly interesting in re-signing him, but when they signed Shane Victorino after already acquiring Jonny Gomes, hopes were dashed.  Three years may have been a little steep for Ross to be asking for, but hey, he still has great value, he's a great clubhouse guy and he still does the bat flip.  Those kinds of guys just don't grow on trees, you know?

Friday, December 21, 2012

Winthrop Head Coach Pat Kelsey Shows Impressive Passion For Change After Newtown Tragedy

Winthrop men's basketball is by no means a powerhouse in the nation, and on Wednesday, head coach Pat Kelsey led his team in a losing battle with no. 4 Ohio State.  Just five days after the tragedy in Newtown, Conn. that shocked the country, Kelsey managed to steal the spotlight from the Buckeyes for a few minutes after the game.

Kelsey, recognizing the stage he was on after playing OSU, ended his post-game press conference with a passionate speech regarding what happened that one Friday morning.  His words were moving, and it was apparent how heavy this incident had been weighing on him.  The first year coach at Winthrop reflected on all the issues swirling around, and spoke his mind like a true leader.

"I'm going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise," he said.  "But hopefully things start changing, because it's really, really disappointing.

"I'm proud to grow up American.  I'm proud to say I'm part of the greatest country ever.  And that's got to stay that way. And it'll stay that way if we change. But we've got to change."

I think its awesome that someone like Kelsey got up there and said what he did.  It speaks to how much this tragedy truly affected us as a country, and it echoes President Barack Obama's word: "we can't tolerate this anymore.  These tragedies must end."

There are some who will say it is not a basketball coach's place to speak about politics or social issues.  Why they would even bother, I'm not sure.  These coaches are American citizens just like everyone else, they have every right to speak their minds.  And its not like anyone was slandering the President or saying anything was done wrong, they were just reiterating the sentiment we had heard over the past week. 

I am a huge fan of Kelsey after this, and I will absolutely be rooting for Winthrop for the rest of the season.  I have already listened to this speech 3 times.  This is one of college basketball's most genuine and determined coaches, hopefully his kids can respond with a big win to put them on the map.

Stevie Johnson's Random Act of Kindness

So the Bills won't make the playoffs, no big deal.  That's not going to stop wide receiver Stevie Johnson from being awesome.

While standing in line at Walmart, a couple filed in behind Johnson with a big-screen TV.  Being an awesome guy, Stevie informed the couple that he was going to purchase the TV for them, spreading a little bit of Christmas cheer.

Johnson is already involved in Vizio's "Touchdowns for TVs" promotion, which gives one lucky fan the chance to win a Vizio 60-inch TV whenever Johnson scores a touchdown.  In late November, Johnson personally delivered a TV to a fan who was one of the winners.  A TV is also donated to the Boys and Girls Club when no. 13 crosses the plane.

"I think it's very important that you do give back when you're in a position we're in as NFL players. I mean you have enough to give back so why not and make some peoples lives," said Johnson.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

ESPN To Suspend Commentator For Questioning if RGIII is Black or Not On Air

ESPN's Rob Parker, a commentator appearing on "First Take," has been suspended for the next 30 days after he took Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III's race into question.  Sad that this sort of thing still happens, nevermind on live television.  But at least its better than Stephen A. Smith going on a rant and calling LeBron James the n-word.

Parker, who is also black, questioned the "blackness" of Griffin, stating that he has a white fiance and is rumored to be Republican.  Since when did either of those things have anything to do with the color of anyone's skin?  Pathetic, really.  Parker issued an apology saying, "I completely understand how the issue of race in sports is a sensitive one and needs to be handled with great care."

But then again, someone who understands that wouldn't be dumb enough to then go say things like Parker did...

Video Battle: X-Men Vs TNT

Video battle time and this edition comes courtesy of the certifiable masters of distraction at Buzzfeed.  Both are amazingly awesome in a ton of ways but which one rules harder?  Does the painstaking nostalgia of a flawlessly executed stop motion recreation of the 1990's X-Men TV show theme song trump the real-life movie a few lucky passers-by got to experience thanks to TNT? I can't make up my mind so I put it to you, the readers, to name the distraction video of the week.

Reminder: Since the world's ending tomorrow, sign up for the celebration at Game On! for free and close things with a bang. I hear St. Peter gives out extra brownie points to those who stared down Ragnarok within pissing distance of an iconic international landmark. A special thanks goes out to all our readers who keep up with the Strike, thanks for taking us from a few posts to 25,000 views. I hope none of you die tomorrow, for real. All those other jerks are on their own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Jets Fan Tweets Death Threats Towards Mark Sanchez, Doesn't See It as a Big Deal

Look, the Jets suck.  That's pretty obvious by now unless you're living under a rock.

But as terrible as they are, and as much as everyone hates seeing Rex Ryan's face, or as much as everyone loves seeing the "buttfumble" clip, reacting the way one 25-year-old Jets fan did, is never okay.

Given the recent tragedy in Connecticut, people are more alert and more sensitive to a situation where someone hints at acting out through violence, such as when Bravee Grandcu sending death threats to quarterback Mark Sanchez via Twitter on Monday evening after the Jets lost to the Titans, 14-10.



Then followed a picture of Grandcu sporting a Jets hat with the accompanying message: "TAKE A GOOD LOOK AT YOUR KILLER!!"

It takes a real rare kind of stupid to do this, or maybe it just takes a Jets fan.  Grandcu's rant was fueled by his $700 in lost bets after Sanchez gave up a fourth turnover in the game.  Grandcu was questioned about the tweets and told authorities that he has never owned a gun and never planned on being violent.

"I don't know why everyone's making such a big deal about the death threats," he said. "I guess it's just because he's Mark Sanchez and he's famous."

Something like that, yeah.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

New A's Shortstop Thinks Billy Beane is Sexy and Cool

Seven-time Nippon Professional Baseball League all-star Hiroyuki Nakajima was just signed by the Oakland A's from Japan for two years and $6.5 million.  Why did he come to Oakland, though?

Well, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, its because Nakajima thinks Oakland GM Billy Beane is "extremely sexy and cool."

These are the sorts of things you can't make up, sports fans.  As to how Nakajima said it -- as a joke, maybe through an interpreter -- we're unsure at the time.  But maybe that's why the A's let Stephen Drew walk after the half-season he spent there... he must not have had the same feelings for Beane.  But someone in Boston's front office must've had the hots for Drew to give him almost $10 million, for cryin' out loud.  Nakajima is one year older than Drew, has never faced these pitchers in the US, and gets signed for not one, but two years and $3 million less altogether. I digress...

Anyway, at the press conference, Beane made sure to make his shortstop feel right at home, telling Nakajima that the sexy and cool feeling was a mutual one.  As to how it will help the defending AL West Champions, no one knows, but team chemistry can go a long way.

Don't Usually Watch 'The Voice,' But Monday Night's Was Pretty Awesome

If you watch the video above, that pretty much sums up everything. NBC's "The Voice" is down to its last three contestants, with the winner being chosen live Tuesday night.

One of the finalists, Nick, performed "Play That Funky Music" with his coach, CeeLo Green on Monday night, and nearly brought the house down when CeeLo's mini-doppleganger Milo came out for a dance solo towards the end of the song. (Fast forward to 1:50).

Changing gears though, the show started off with a very somber, yet beautifully done rendition of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" in memory of the Sandy Hook Elementary School tragedy.  Green, Adam Levine, Christina Aguilera and Blake Shelton soloed with a background of contestants providing harmony.  Its tough to watch, but a really nice way to pay their respects.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Christmas-Themed Commercial Battle - Samsung

It's that time of year again, the Christmas season.  In honor of that, let's have another commercial battle.  I figure everyone could use a laugh, especially at a time like this, right?

Both of these commercials are from Samsung, who have launched a pretty serious campaign over the past six months.  They are both for Samsung's new phones, the Galaxy S III and Note II.  While both involving the same phones, the same kinda cool but not really necessary feature, but only one can win...

If it were up to me, the first one clearly takes it.  The original commercial was hilarious, but then you make it about the Claus's... Couldn't ask for more.  But hopefully its not up to me, let us know what you think in the comments below.

Is Stephen Drew Worth 9.5 Million Dollars?


Four years ago, maybe.

The Red Sox, currently busy swooping up every over-priced free agent, have stayed true to their proven system of having solid veteran players while bringing up homegrown talent.  The shortstop position has been one held by an immeasurable number of players over the past decade and even know, despite the loss of Mike Aviles to the Blue Jays -- part of manager John Farell's compensation -- the Red Sox still have plenty of options.

Stephen Drew, younger brother to former Red Sox (and "greatest clutch hitter in Red Sox history" if you ask my two roommates) JD, has signed a one year, $9.5 million contract in Boston, and could possibly be the frontrunner for starter on Opening Day.  But he doesn't earn the position on merit alone.

Drew only played in 79 games last season between Arizona and Oakland, hitting just .223 with seven home runs.  His career year was in 2008, when he hit .291 with 21 homers and 67 RBI.  But we're looking ahead to 2013, and his opportunity comes as the Nation waits to see the progress of prospects Jose Iglesias and Xander Bogaerts, who factor to be lacing up their cleats for the big league club sometime this year.

Bogaerts, just 20 years old, is progressing quickly in the minors, while Iglesias as well as Pedro Ciriaco have already made an impact in Boston.  Many are claiming that Ciriaco's stock will be dropping this season now that pitchers have had time to adjust to his game, but for my money, between Will Middlebrooks and Dustin Pedroia, Ciriaco provides exactly what you're looking for in the field and out of the eight of nine spot in the lineup.

Drew's signing doesn't really do a lot for Boston.  He doesn't provide anything the Red Sox don't already have, but the one thing the signing does is add to the sentiment that the 2013 Boston Red Sox are not messing around.

ESPN NHL 13 Simulations Mean Nothing Unless You Are an Islanders Fan

Still no hockey. The NHLPA has proposed dissolving, which would make this whole process way harder than it has already. But luckily we have NHL 13 simulations, still!

The Bruins still suck, and the Islanders are third in the entire NHL.  An injury to Evgeni Nabakov should slow the roll of the Isles, and an MCL sprain knocked out PK Subban as well as any nastiness we could have hoped to see in a Bruins-Habs game... That's simulated... By ESPN.  Exciting.

Any time the spotlight is on Carolina and Washington, I think that sums up how things are going these days.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Please Pray for the Victims at Sandy Hook Elementary

There is no right or wrong way to react to a national tragedy like the events at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut on Friday, but I urge everyone to please take a minute out of your day and pray for anyone who has been affected.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Pacific Rim Trailer will Blow Your Socks Off

Mark your calendar's and fullscreen the video because Guillermo Del Toro's new film "Pacific Rim" is set to blow the world apart.  Picture if the US Army updated a set of Rock Em Sock Em Robots, upscaled those beasts to about a 90 ft scale and then sent them to fight gigantic Godzilla sized killer space aliens. I'm sold.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Can You Name Eight Players to Play for the 2004 Red Sox That Went on to Play for the Yankees?

Kevin Youkilis became the latest in a surprisingly long list of former Red Sox players to also lace 'em up for the New York Yankees.  A list that includes players like Wade Boggs, Luis Tiant and the immortal Eric Hinske from the 2007 World Series team.

But I came across an interesting fact on Wednesday: eight players from the 2004 Red Sox World Championship team have since gone on to play for the Bronx Bombers.  Can you name them all?

Kevin Youkilis - Youkilis signed a one year, $12 million deal with the Yankees on Tuesday, becoming the eighth former Red Sox champion to join the Evil Empire.

Derek Lowe - Lowe was an absolutely dominant pitcher for the Sox in the 2004 postseason.  For the Yankees in this past postseason?  A 13.50 ERA with just two innings pitched.

Johnny Damon - After having the game of his life in Game 7 of the ALCS in 2004 against the Yankees, ensuring the Sox trip to the World Series for the first time since 1986, Damon waited just a year until he fell to the dark side in 2006.  His stint lasted until 2009 as he averaged a .285 batting average with 19 homers a year.

Alan Embree - Embree was one of three relief pitchers to appear in the four games of the 2004 World Series, proving once again the dominance of the pitching performances that year.  In 2005, he played just 24 games with a 7.53 ERA in New York.  Should've stayed in Beantown...

Mark Bellhorn - Bellhorn got the 2004 Series off to a bang when he rattled a home run off of Pesky's Pole in right field, but his career quickly plummeted afterwards.  He played in just nine games for the Yankees in 2005, collecting a home run and a single as his only hits.

Ramiro Mendoza - Mendoza played for seven seasons in New York before coming to Boston to get his World Series ring in 2004.  So to show his thanks, he went right back to New York in 2005 to kick around in the minor leagues before his retirement in 2006.

Mike Myers - Myers managed to stay around for another go in 2005 in Boston, but packed his bags in 2006 for the Bronx.  He pitched just 30 innings that season, with another 40 more in 2007 -- the same season the Sox won another title.

Doug Mientkiewicz - It seemed like Mienkiewicz was just picking teams out of a hat after his defense helped the Sox secure their 2004 championship, and drew the Yankees in 2007 after two years with the Mets then Royals respectively.

So with the addition of Hinske, nine former Red Sox World Champions have gone on to play for the Yankees.  Scary thought, but with the exception of Damon, none of those players have come back to haunt the Red Sox, and I think Youkilis will fit right in with that trend.

The World's Ending=Free Party at Game On! Boston on a Budget

12.12.2012 - Boston, Commonwealth of Massachusetts - Okay, okay.  So this song's a little cliche, but according to the Mayans, the world's run is done as of next Friday so sue me if I want to hear R.E.M. one last time.  Lots of news and free stuff coming up so stick with me through the end..."of the world as we know it and IIIIII feeeeel fiiiiinnne." - Bad news, good news time: Bad news: I'm going to have to cut down on the Boston on a budget section.  The email service I signed up for changed it's format and isn't putting up as many freebies.  Good news? This website compiles Boston's deals better than I ever could and they are straight up legit! They even have some of my personal favorites, like the city's best one dollar oysters, Taco Tuesday spots and the Red Hat's 10 cent Wing Nights (it's legendary, cheap, delicious and every Sunday, Monday and Tuesday). Bookmark this deal because you'll wanna come back over and over again. - A comprehensive list of the Hub's best drink specials.  Cheap pitchers at the likes of the Sil', Punter's Pub and margaritas with prices that won't break the bank.  Because this is Boston and happy hours are still illegal, these prices are set for most nights of the week. Personal recommendations include $1 Bud Lights at Coogans, Jose McIntyre's $2.50 32 oz. personal pitchers and Biddy Early's $2 PBR's, $4 shots and $8 pitchers.

Shock top Free end of the world party at Game On! - Sign up for free at the Eventbrite and look forward to the reckoning in style. 12/21/2012 8 p.m. til Doomsday. Event description below.

"It might be the end of the world, but we want to party! Join RadioBDC and Shock Top to ring in the end of the world on Friday, December 21st! The basement of Game On will be transformed into what we think the end of the world would look like. There will be endless Shock Top, music from Mmmmaven, and lots of giveaways. It's the end of the world so let's party!"

Reality Show Casting at Red Hat Wednesday! - For those that know me well enough, know that I've had my fair share of being a part of reality TV (my sister was MADE). That's not to say you haven't though.  Hurry up and sign up for the free chance to appear on a dating reality show and head to the Red Hat (Hey, I heard that place was good) Wednesday from 7-9 before all the slots fill up.  Grab a draft, get a taste of the lime light and maybe find true love?

Stay posted, Strikers! That's a lot to handle in one bite so keep an eye out this weekend for more stuff coming your way like: Two Piece bands take over Rock n' Roll, Big Boi VS Kendrick Lamar Album Reviews, and new in Music in Boston

Apocalypse Eclipse Post Script BTW: North Korea's launching long range missles again, so the world might actually actually be ending. Read more at

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Kevin Youkilis Falls to the Dark Side

Former Red Sox third baseman Kevin Youkilis has given into temptation, abandoned his teachings and joined the dark side.  Fear of losing his starting job to Will Middlebrooks made him angry.  Anger caused him to question his role on the team and hate 2012 manager Bobby Valentine.  His hate led him to sign with the New York Yankees for $12 million next season on Tuesday.

"Hate, leads to suffering." -Yoda, 32 BBY

The deal in New York is awaiting a physical from Youkilis before it is official, but the plan right now is to bring Youkilis is for a year to fill in for Alex Rodriguez while he recovers from an ailing steroid-ridden body.  Youkilis hit a combined .235 last season with 19 home runs and 61 RBI for Boston and Chicago, and should be a solid replacement for the Yankees.

As far as consistency going, he's probably a better option than A-Rod at this stage in the game.  The Yankees lucked out signed Youkilis as the free agent pool of third basemen was drying up quickly with names like Jeff Keppinger and now ex-Yankee Eric Chavez getting signed a week ago.

The Red Sox will be in New York on Opening Day, April 1, for another installment of the greatest rivalry in sports.

Taylor University's Silent Night is Best Tradition Since Teddy Bear Toss

Every year, Taylor University, an evangelical Christian school in Indiana, holds a "Silent Night" and one of their December home basketball games before winter break.

The tradition is, fans pack the gym dressed in absurd Christmas-themed costumes and bright colors and sit in silence until the 10th point is scored by Taylor.  When that 10th point is scored, though, the whole gym goes absolutely bananas.

Its a pretty sweet video, and as CBS Sports points out, its probably the one thing the school is known for...

"College kids losing their damn minds while dressed like they just broke out of the loony bin. It's the one-time-a-year celebration when the whole gym goes bonkers after total quiet from the crowd."

Caroline Wozniacki's Impression of Serena Williams Pegged as Racist and Sexist

Tennis star Caroline Wozniacki, during an exhibition match with Maria Sharapova in Sao Paolo, Brazil, was goofing around and imitated one of her good friends, Serena Williams.  Wozniacki stuffed her shirt and skirt with towels to imitate Williams' body, which apparently has been regarded as racist and sexist in some circles.

Wozniacki has made fun of Williams in the past, as have male tennis stars Andy Roddick and Novak Djokovic have done as well. has taken serious offense to the friendly imitation, and plans to incite a Twitter campaign to force Wozniacki to apologize.

"[Caroline] oh so cleverly inserted towels into her top and bottom, so it looked like she had bigger breasts and a bigger butt.  Making fun of somebody's body is inappropriate, sexist, offensive and problematic.  But given the history and current-day context of racialized standards of beauty, and the hypersexualization of people of color, when a white woman makes fun of a black woman's body, especially in a way that hypersexualizes her and draws on the stereotype of black women's big butts, its racist."

Never mind the fact that that last sentence is absolutely ridiculous, using the word "hypersexual" in two different forms, the claims that website makes are just absurd.  Wozniacki and Williams are close friends, and not one other person on the planet was upset about the joke.
“She oh so cleverly inserted towels into her top and bottom, so it looked like she had bigger breasts and a bigger butt. Making fun of somebody’s body is inappropriate, sexist, offensive and problematic. But given the history and current-day context of racialized standards of beauty, and the hypersexualization of people of color, when a white woman makes fun of a black women’s body, especially in a way that hypersexualizes her and draws on the stereotype of black women’s big butts, it’s racist.

Read more at:

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Pop Danthology 2012 - Pretty Sweet, Actually

I'll admit right now to liking music that I know I shouldn't.  That being said, there are artists like Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, LMFAO and whoever the hell sung "Rack City" that I cannot stand and have no business making music.

Apparently I was completely out of the loop until a few days ago on these videos, that take a bunch of popular songs from that year and mash them all together into one mega-hit.  From what I gather, this have been going on for three years, but its news to me.  Either way, despite it showcasing how similar every pop song is nowadays and how the music scene is falling in the gutter, when you can combine Justin Bieber, Psy, One Direction and Owl City, yeah, I'll listen.

Side note, music videos these days, right?  The amount of nonsense you see watching this video is nothing short of baffling, and you mostly have Rihanna and Ke$ha to thank for that.

Can't Say I Have Ever Seen a Free Throw Go This Wrong

Think of the worst free throw shots you have ever seen. I think you'll agree with me that this display is without a doubt the worst in history.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Crosby and Bettman Turn Taiwanese

Well, the NHL lockout is officially worldwide news. And how do we know this?

The saga has been Taiwananimated...

Sidney Crosby and Gary Bettman ride up front in the rollercoaster that is the NHL lockout, and then, well...

Crosby decapitates Bettman with a slapshot.  So what does Bettman do to get revenge?

Runs over several half naked frozen NHL players with a zamboni.  Then turns into the devil and moons the downtrodden players.  Oh, and he's not done until he imagines cutting off the limbs of the NHL logo man, then actually shoots him with a flaming bow and arrow to set him aflame.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

College Basketball - What to Watch For This Weekend

We're just into the second month of college basketball and already we've seen some huge games with plenty more on the way.  Some big upsets have shaken up the Top 25 scene, most notably tossing John Calipari's Kentucky from the nation's elite for this first time in his tenure at UK.  This weekend promises to be another great weekend for the sport, and here are a few games Three If By Strike will be keeping their eyes on.

On Friday night, UConn takes on Harvard.  UConn's had a solid year so far, considering their ineligibility for and tournaments and a Jim Calhoun-less coaching staff.  Head coach Kevin Ollie has kept the Huskies heads in the game, and won his first game at the helm over no. 16 Michigan State team.  Since then, the team's two losses have come against a very tough New Mexico team -- who went on to be ranked following the win -- and no. 25 NC State.

Tommy Amaker's Crimson squad has handled losing their two captains to a cheating scandal well, but they won't be able to keep up with UConn's guards, Shabazz Napier and Ryan BoatrightUConn wins by 14.

Also on Friday, an interstate battle takes place at the Hawkeye Arena as Iowa State travels to Iowa.  Iowa is 6-0 at home so far this season, but usually have it pretty good until they get into their Big Ten schedule.  Iowa State has been impressive so far this year as well, with their losses coming after they put up 70 points against both ranked Cincinnati and UNLV teams.

They boast the nation's third best rebounds per game average with 45.6 and score just over 82 points a game.  Iowa is one of those teams that can be really streaky at times, and although they're coming off two blowout wins, I'm going to give this one to Iowa State in the nest of the Hawkeyes.  State by 7.

Saturday is going to be a huge day for college hoops, with 20 of the Top 25 teams taking the court.  Being from Connecticut, I want to watch the Indiana-Central Conn game, but that's just ridiculous.  The 3:15 p.m. game between Duke and Temple really intrigues me.  Duke has already beaten three of the top five teams in the country, and yes, even though their competition has been much better comparatively, they have allowed more points per game than the Temple Owls.

Duke is a team that seems to get ahead of themselves at times, but luckily always seem to have the right shooters to make that game plan work.  They always seem due for that game where it just all goes wrong -- right, Lehigh?  This one will be way closer than Coach K would like, but the Blue Devils will be okay in the end.  I mean, they have Mason PlumleeDuke by 6.

Most of the Top 25 should have an easy time with games like Syracuse-Monmouth, Michigan-Arkansas (who just played one hell of a game against Oklahoma...) and Georgetown-Towson.  But things get dicey when no. 10 takes on no. 13 in Gonzaga-Illinois.  Both teams are undefeated at 9-0, but Gonzaga is 9th in points per game and second in field goal percentage.  Four Bulldogs average over 10 points a game, then Mike Hart comes off the bench and shoots 71 percent from behind the arc.

The Fighting Illini will have this month to get up to fighting weight before their Big Ten schedule kicks in, and to this point, have already been tested twice by Garnder-Webb and Hawaii.  However, they handily beat Butler from the sneaky good A-10.  Senior guard Brandon Paul will have to have himself a game and a half if they want to keep pace in this one.  Gonzaga takes it by 11.

I'm Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents

Hello Threeifbystrikers!  It's been some time since I've been on the site and I wanted to make sure people didn't think I'd moved on.  Nothing so dramatic has been keeping me from the blog but studying for the GRE's, applying to grad schools and prepping to re-enter the 2013 job market. Not as many fun or free activities as I'd like but hey that's the deal right?  With this added workload, my contribution might be fewer and far between but I'll do my best to keep up as much as I can. So, without much ado, here are some little gems from the internet that get things going.
-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- We're living in an important moment in human history right now; the end of it.  I'm going with the Mayan's prediction of total annihilation at the end of December and bidding the Honey Boo Boos of the world a fond farewell.  While the apocalypse is undeniably approaching, there's still plenty of time to get things done.  Use to fulfill or create the most epic end of the world bucket list ever.

Tom Brady Teaches You Football- Have you got 10k to spare? Yeah? Well why the hell aren't you out there bidding on football lessons from Awesome Tom?  Can't afford the price tag, put it on your Christmas list. If your parents love you maybe they'll feel bad enough to get you an iPad mini when they can't put you and Brady's wicked spiral together.

I'm Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents-Full Movie- TJ Miller is killing it right now, mostly everywhere and in general (Peep a track from his rap album HERE.)  Comedian, writer, actor, and filmmaker, Miller is making a big splash in the world of laughs.  Check out the trailers for his short films, "I'm Having a Difficult Time Killing My Parents" and "Successful Alcoholics"  which have made their way into Sundance and my heart.  The fact that TJ opens the trailers with one of Big Boi's illest tracks, guns, and Lizzy Caplan has me drooling all over the place. This kid's going places, keep eyes out.

Bonus: New Music Video from Flying Lotus

82 Days In, Still No NHL

CBA talks have been going on like crazy for three straight days, with everyone playing their hands pretty close to their chests.

For now, watch some people beating each other up and pretend that the loser in each fight is either Gary Bettman, Bill Daly or Jeremy Jacobs.

Youk to the Yankees?

So with Alex Rodriguez needing hip surgery as his body deals with the aftermath of years of rampant steriod use, the Yankees are looking for a third baseman.

Eric Chavez and Jeff Keppinger have already signed elsewhere, and one of the best third basemen on the market right now is...

Kevin Youkilis.

The Yankees have reportedly offered him a one year, $12 million deal.  A-Rod figures to be back in six months time, so Youkilis would be able to either fill the void, or provide a solid every day third baseman while A-Rod DH's so he doesn't break something while his body weakens from all the performance-enhancers he's pumped through his veins throughout his career.

No deal has been reached yet, but the Yankees seem desperate to make something.  Its tacky, really.

Teddy Bear Violence: Should YOU be concerned?

This has been on a 2-a-day minimum loop in my video lineup and it's too good not to share.  Two Finger's newest video is the dubstep equivalent of N64 raunch classic "Conker's Bad Fur Day" with claymation gore cranked up to 11. Call me a sentimental, but this video brings me right back to the good ole' days of old-school-slow-motion bodies exploding...aka the 80's.

PS-The ending is either really creepy or nostalgically endearing. I haven't made up my mind about it yet but I like it. 

Uehara Signs a One-Year Deal in Boston

The Dallas Morning News is reporting that left-handed reliever Koji Uehara will sign with the Boston Red Sox for the 2013 season.

No details on the contract have come about just yet, but the word is that the deal is for just one year.  His signing in Boston is dependent on passing a physical.

Uehara adds to the pretty serious list of names that the Red Sox have picked up during the Winter Meetings in Nashville.  Jonny Gomes, Mike Napoli and Shane Victorino have already shipped up to Boston, which is not exactly a "serious list," but it is when you consider that the Sox, after going 69-93, have been the biggest and most aggressive players at these meetings, overshadowing just about every other team.

In 36 innings last season, Uehara posted a 1.75 ERA before missing time with a strained lat muscle.  We'll see if he can do any damage at the back of the bullpen.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

New Orleans...Pelicans? Name Change Coming for 2013-14 Season

The New Orleans Hornets are in the middle of a complete revamping.  They drafted two big names in Austin Rivers and Anthony Davis this offseason, and eight of the 13 players on their roster are in the second year of their career or less.

To try and re-brand themselves, apparently their latest bright idea is to rename the team for the 2013-14 season.  The proposed idea?  The New Orleans Pelicans.

The name of the Pelicans was first used in 1887 by a minor league baseball team in the New Orleans area.  Ditching the name would be great news because it could give way for the Charlotte Bobcats to take the name back, which His Airness, Bobcats chairman Michael Jordan has said the team would "entertain the opportunity."

But when I think of Pelicans, I think of the hockey team from Finland or I think of Nigel from "Finding Nemo," but it would make sense for a bad basketball team.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Red Sox Add the Flyin' Hawaiian Shane Victorino

The Red Sox made another move to bolster their 2013 roster during the Winter Meetings on Tuesday.  Free agent Shane Victorino was signed to a three year, $37.5 million contract, just a day after catcher Mike Napoli received a free agent deal for the same number of years, but at $39 million total.

The signing of the Flyin' Hawaiian should seal the door shut for the Sox to sign anymore outfielders this offseason.  They have had their eyes set on talent such as Josh Hamilton, Nick Swisher and Cody Ross, who became a free agent after his one year contract in Boston expired.

With Ryan Sweeney on his way back after a hand injury and Daniel Nava making waves as a mid-season call-up last year, why the Sox were so eager to sign outfielders is a mystery.  The club signed Jonny Gomes for a couple years at a total of $10 million, adding to a deep, veteran outfield that collectively could provide a pretty good spark for the offense.  But finding the right balance, and playing guys when they're hot, or as "hot" as they can be at this stage in their career, will prove difficult for Sox manager John Farrell.

The Sox next target is a top shelf starting pitcher, and reports indicate they're looking for a short term, big money deal with someone in the very near future.

Any Parent Who Makes a Video Like This Should be Arrested Immediately

This has to stop.

I don't know who the hell thinks these videos are funny, but its an absolutely ridiculous trend that comes about whenever a player gets traded in sports or when there are too many campaign ads on TV.  Its the dumbest thing I have ever seen.

What parent sits their kid down in front of a camera, makes them cry and then posts in on the Internet?  Just what kind of sick bastard does that?  Do they get enjoyment out of this?  Look, the kid's life clearly sucks as it is if he's got you for a parent, guy, so don't make matters worse and make him cry over something as idiotic as Mike Napoli signing with the Red Sox.

This is not news.  This is the only time I will post something like this because its so disturbing that I can't ignore it anymore.  If you want to watch a stupid viral video about a big news event, skip the crying, traumatized kid and go straight for Taiwanese animation next time.

WBZ-Boston Reports End to NHL Lockout Out of The Blue

Social media can make anything seem believable these days.  As long as enough people read something, enough people will then talk about that something to make it seem like common knowledge.  In this case, Steve Burton of WBZ-TV, Boston's CBS affiliate, has decided to go ahead and announce an imminent end to the NHL lockout.

If I've said it once, I've said it a million times -- I hate writing about the lockout, but what if this complete shot in the dark is true?

Burton, the go-to sports reporter on the WBZ nightly news, reported that "an unannounced meeting was held [Monday] with a high-ranking official from each side and significant progress was made towards salvaging the hockey season." 

As always, there are two sides to this statement.  On the one hand, you gotta believe, now 80 days into the lockout, the two sides are going to run out of thing to argue about.  They have had to go over the same things a thousand times over by now, so how many more times can they run through the rigmarole?  But on the other side, the two sides have met with federal mediators who lasted about 48 hours until they said, yeah, you know what, these two sides have nothing in common and are so far apart that we're just going to call it quits.

Burton states that "his sources" told him of the news, but did not go into naming them.  But to his credit, his sources were the one that supplied him with the information to boldly break then-Bruins rookie Phil Kessel's testicular cancer in 2006.  But, at the same time, Sports Illustrated reporter Sarah Kwak asked deputy commissioner Bill Daly if there was a single morsel of truth to the report, and he wasn't a terrible human being, I'd be inclined to believe him.

"Not even a single morsel."

You make the call, but I'm staying cautiously optimistic while living in the fantasy world of NHL 13 where Adam McQuaid now plays for the Philadelphia Flyers and Claude Giroux averages a goal a game nearly halfway through the season.

Red Sox Get Their 'First Priority' in Mike Napoli

The Boston Red Sox solidified a contract with free agent Mike Napoli Monday afternoon, giving him 3 years and $39 million.  Napoli figures to platoon at first base and catcher, splitting time with Jarrod Saltalamacchia and their first free agent signing David Ross.

Is Napoli a good pick up?  I believe so.  His $39 million contract is comparatively cheaper, and the Red Sox are very wisely trying to keep contracts down to three years or fewer.  Josh Hamilton, who the Sox are still courting, is asking for a mega-deal, and Boston is making an exception to their rule, but stating they are only willing to go up to five years.

Napoli's pitches per place appearance stands at a 4.41 average, which is well above the league average of 3.82, but his average has been slumping of late. Of course, when you look at his numbers, and factor in that he will play in Fenway Park, he's due for a good offensive year.  In 2009, he hit .272 and in 2010 posted a .238 average.  Then in 2011 he hit .320 followed by a .227 average in the 2012 campaign. 

He seems to have an off year then come back much stronger.  In terms of home runs, he's been good for min-20s there, and as a right-handed hitter who absolutely dominates left-handed hitters, that Green Monster seems just a little bit closer.

We'll have to wait and see what Napoli can do in a Sox uniform, but I'm optimistic that this will work out and put the Sox back on the right track.

Monday, December 3, 2012

Teddy Bear Toss - Coolest Event In Pro Sports

You're looking at over 21,000 teddy bears raining down on the ice in Calgary. The Calgary Hitmen, of the WHL, held their 18th annual "Teddy Bear Toss" on Sunday night.

The Teddy Bear Toss has helped give over 213,000 stuffed bears to children through local hospitals and charities in the Calgary area since 1999.  The Toss occurs when a member of the Hitmen scores the team's first goal.  Sunday night, it took less than 15 minutes for the Teddy Bear goal, and took another 45 minutes for the bears to be swept up.

Watching this video is nothing short of amazing.  The Scotiabank Saddledome only seats 19,000, but over 21,000 bears were collected in just one night.  Its one of those feel good stories in sports, and its an awesome hockey story in a time when you can't even find an okay one.

ESPN's NHL Week 8 Simulation - The Good Teams Suck

Week 8 NHL '13 simulations are in, and the results are pretty surprising so far.

I have been trying to avoid writing any NHL news for a while, holding onto hope that my next post could be about the end of the lockout.  Since that's no where in sight, I'm taking a different route by reporting the season simulation that ESPN has been conducting to fill the void.

As it stands right now, the Islanders, Senators and Capitals sit atop the Eastern Conference.  Wait, what?  The Islanders finished 34-37-11 last season, second to last in the East.  And Montreal somehow has 30 points already?  Give me a break.

The scene in the West makes a little more sense, but this time, it's who's missing from the top that's surprising.  The Kings, Red Wings and Blues are currently 12, 13 and 14 respectively in the conference, all with under 20 points.

The Bruins aren't even on anyone's radar, either.  They're in dead last in the East, and their only glimmer of hope comes from Tuukka Rask's three shutouts.  Looks like avenging their first round playoff exit is a pretty far stretch right now, but the season's just getting started.

Ed Reed Thinks NFL is Turning into Powder Puff

The Steelers found a way to win over the Ravens Sunday afternoon led by 15-year veteran quarterback Charlie Batch.  The game came right down to the final seconds, as Shaun Suisham solidified the 23-20 win as time expired.

The Steelers offense never really seemed to get rolling, as it took them nine minutes into the third quarter to get their first touchdown.  They were stymied in enemy territory a couple times, including an Ed Reed interception just shy of the Steelers end zone.  The pick was good for Reed's 61st in his career, but following the loss, that wasn't even in the back of his mind.

Following his one-game suspension for repeated violations of player safety rules, Reed was understandably upset as he could not help his team to a victory.  After the game, he chose to put some of the blame on the league's back.

He was asked about the rules "protecting" offensive players, and his response was influenced not only by the loss, but by the bias of a hard-hitting defender.

"It's definitely changing the game," Reed said. "It's become an offensive league. They want more points. They want the physical play out of it, kind of. They want like powder-puff, to where you can just run around and score points cause that's going to attract the fans. I understand you want to make money, but bending the rules and making the game different, you know, it's only going to make the game worse."

The only thing the rules do to "protect" players is say that you can't bash their heads in with your own head.  No where do they state you cannot hit a person with as much force as you deem necessary.  Tough loss for the Ravens.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Get Your Hockey Fix and Watch These Russian Kids Fight

A lot.

This is one of those videos you see that needs no introduction or commentary, so just enjoy it.

Saints Players Claim They Were Egged by Atlanta Airport Workers

As the Saints touched down in Atlanta to take on the Falcons for Thursday Night Football, apparently they didn't receive the warmest of welcomes.

According to several players and their Twitter feeds, the Saints bus was pelted by eggs thrown by airport workers.  I personally thought that was a dead art, but a classic move nonetheless.

Tight end Jimmy Graham said via Twitter, "Bus just got egged after landing in ATL by the ramp workers. Classy!"  Backup quarterback Chase Daniel said, "Wow ... we start getting eggs thrown [at] us by airport workers! Guess they do hate us!"

Kinda wish this sort of thing happened more often.  Back on New Years Day in 2008 when the Pittsburgh Penguins' bus was pulling into Ralph Wilson Stadium to play the Sabres, fans were pelting the bus with snowballs.  Not quite the same damage done as eggs, but you gotta believe an ice ball or two slipped in there.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

USGA Bans Anchoring Clubs, Belly Putters

A trend that has slowly crept into golf over the past decade will no longer be allowed for the 2016 season.  Belly putting, or anchoring your club against your body to create a smoother pendulum motion, is leaving the game.

The United States Golf Association's rules change on a four-year cycle, hence the long wait.  That will mean players like U.S. Open champion Webb Simpson, British Open champ Ernie Els and PGA Championship winner Keegan Bradley will have to make the transition back to a, well, "regular" putting style.

"One of the most fundamental things about the game of golf is we believe the player should hold the club away from his body and swing it freely," said Mike Davis, executive director of the USGA. "We think this is integral to the traditions of the game. Golf is a game of skill and challenge, and we think that is an important part of it."

Using a belly putter during match play will result in the immediate loss of that hole, and putting in that style during stroke play will be an automatic two stroke penalty if it occurs.

I mean, I think it should be up to the golfer how they would like to put.  Phil Mickelson does that crazy "claw grip" putt and no one says boo.  When these over-sized drivers made their way into the game, no one said it was an unfair advantage.  It takes a lot of time to be able to make that transition and change your swing, especially your putting, and I think its more unfair to have those players make the switch than it is to let them keep their "advantage."

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Jets, Jets Fans Are All Terrible

Look, we all now the Jets are a joke, but there's a line. It takes a special kind of crazy to do this to the hometown boys.

Regardless of how bad the Bills are, and they're not a good football team by any means right now, I couldn't imagine doing this to my team.  I watched this with my roommates, and it was wicked funny at first, but after watching it a second time, its a pretty ugly scene.  There's profanity every two seconds, but even if you look past that, its an all-around disgrace.  My favorite lines are "Tebow, save us!" and "Sanchez, you piece of s***!"

Where's Fireman Ed when you need him?

The Current Scene in College Basketball

With the ACC-Big Ten challenge just hours away, let's take a step back see where college basketball stands in its fourth week.

In the Top 10, Kansas has replaced North Carolina after the Tar Heels lost a big game to Butler at the EA Sports Maui Invitational.  The teams have been jumbled up a little bit since last week, with Louisville and Duke switching places, putting the Blue Devils now in second.

Number 3 Michigan is an extremely strong team led by Trey Burke, Glenn Robinson III and Tim Hardaway Jr., and will be tested Tuesday night against number 18 NC State in the first game of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge.  Another win is in order for the Wolverines, who should win comfortably, though it'll take a good 25-30 minutes to shake NC State.  The second game features the nation's number 1 Indiana against the Tar Heels.  UNC is not reeling from the Butler upset, but right now they are not strong enough to take down Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers.

UConn's loss to New Mexico was expected, considering the scary talent of the Lobos, and has pushed the Huskies out of the Top 25 to make room for the now number 25 Lobos.  Baylor and Memphis have slipped out, and along with New Mexico, Georgetown and Illinois have earned their spot among the nation's elite.

There are plenty of games to look forward to this week.  On Wednesday, the Challenge continues with Ohio State-Duke, Michigan State-Miami and Georgia Tech-Illinois.  Thursday features Marquette-Florida and Notre Dame-Kentucky in the Big East-SEC Challenge, and action continues on Friday with Georgetown-Tennessee.

I'll be tweeting at much as possible about these games, so follow along with @JonToddVanDamme if you want the latest news.

Will the Red Sox Trade Jon Lester?

We're almost two months removed from the most miserable season in Red Sox history since 1997, and still, the team is finding new ways to make us cringe.

Earlier this month, general manager Ben Cherington told the media that his team would still have one of the highest payrolls in Boston.  That's all well and good, but if you just start throwing money around at below average players -- i.e. Jonny Gomes -- its just going to make the situation that much worse.

Gomes was recently signed to a two year, $10 million contract.  A decent player, better clubhouse guy, but he's no 2012 Cody Ross.  The latest scare for Red Sox Nation?  Jon Lester could be on the move.

Will Myers is one of the top 10 prospects in the league right now, currently patrolling the outfield in the Royals' minor league system.  Kansas City has reportedly expressed their interest to add a front man to their starting rotation and has stated they are willing to deal Myers.  So let's get the rumor mill turning.

Lester and the Red Sox have not been in discussions for a contract extension, but that means nothing at this point.  With a struggling ball club that saw one of the worst starting pitching performances, I don't think anyone is jumping the gun on this deal.  A Lester-Myers deal, could be pretty enticing though, but you're comparing apples to oranges with an established starting pitcher versus a 21-year-old outfielder.  Although, as far as production last season, Myers hit .314 with 37 homers, 109 RBI and a .987 OPS.

So there's that.

We'll see what becomes of these rumors, although I would put money on the Red Sox holding onto Lester for many years to come.

Easily the Best Sack Celebration

I'm not a huge fan of showboating in the NFL. There are very few cases where I will endorse a celebration, considering players are just doing their job. I don't finish a post, stand up and do the macarena in my living room.

But all that aside, Aldon Smith's "celebration" is amazing.   Check out his move above.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Boston vs. Goliath - The Current State of College Basketball in Boston

Just a heads up here, the spacing is really strange and fixing it would be next to impossible, so for that I apologize.

More so than any other sport, college basketball is a sport of perennial powerhouses.  Establishing an institution to be synonymous with a sport itself takes years, and only a select few have been able to earn the right within the basketball community including Duke, Indiana, UConn, North Carolina and Kansas.  In arguably the greatest sports city on the planet, why do Boston-area college basketball teams seem to fall by the wayside?  Is there something standing in their way or could it be something the team is lacking?
The 2012-13 season in underway, and Boston schools are experiencing mixed results.  Boston College, Boston University, Harvard and Northeastern are a combined 5-8 so far, and they each have their fair share of hurdles to jump before season’s end.
The Boston College Eagles have stumbled out to a 1-3 start.  The beginning of their season is really their time to shine, because once they get into the Atlantic Coast Conference schedule, the odds are stacked against them.  Teams like Duke, North Carolina and North Carolina State prowl atop this premier conference, and the Eagles will need to steal games against the likes of Maryland, Virginia and Virginia Tech to be a player in the conference tournament.
The Terriers of Boston University are sharing the same misfortune as the Eagles, starting 0-3.  The America East conference is not on anyone’s radar, but games against Vermont, Stony Brook and out-of-conference Harvard will be necessary to give their run a boost come tournament time.
And speaking of Harvard, amidst the cheating scandal implicating co-captains Kyle Casey and Brandyn Curry, the back-to-back Ivy League winners appear to still have what it takes for a third consecutive title.  Their biggest tests will come against Princeton and Cornell, but their schedule is tailored for a deep Ivy League run.
Finally, the black sheep of the Boston college basketball family, the Northeastern Huskies may have the most reasons to cheer this season.  With a 2-1 start in a weak Colonial Athletic Association now that Virginia Commonwealth University split for the Atlantic-10, bringing their ‘A’ games for Hofstra and conference-favorite Drexel will be paramount if they want to make the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 1991.
These four teams have had very little success over the past decade.  Despite BU winning their conference in 2011 and Harvard making the NCAA Tournament the past two years, these teams cannot seem to make the leap to perennial players.
When you look at historically great college teams, you are looking at a few things, the most obvious of which being past success.  But what makes these teams great is their basketball tradition – the names that have gone through the program, the courts they play on and whether or not basketball has been and will continue to be the institution’s number one sport.
For example, Duke plays under one of the greatest coaches to ever hold a clipboard in Mike Krzyzewski and inside Cameron Indoor Stadium.  In Kansas’ 114 years of men’s basketball, they have had just seven head coaches.  These schools define tradition.  The Kentucky Wildcats sent six players to the NBA last season, including the top two picks in the draft.  And when you think of the UNC, you picture the Tar Heel baby blue uniforms atop a basketball court.
There is no draw for a big name high school player to come to Boston.  Many of the players currently on the four rosters are from the northeast area already, because without tradition, the draw to come in from another part of the country is minimal.  There are no big coaches, no real success with players at the professional level (save Jeremy Lin, a ’10 graduate of Harvard) and when most people think of these schools, they aren’t thinking basketball.  BC has been known as a football school and BU is a hockey juggernaut.  Playing on the basketball teams at these schools is like being an extra in the other sports’ movie.
Harvard has the greatest chance for future success in college basketball, having already declared themselves a force in the Ivy League for the past five seasons.  Their head coach, Tommy Amaker, is a former Duke Blue Devil star who has coached at his alma mater, Seton Hall and Michigan before coming to Harvard in 2007.  His name is known and respected in the basketball world, a major key to a school’s success.
One miracle will not save a team.  It takes years of success and the right pieces of the puzzle to make up a college basketball powerhouse.  The teams that first come to mind have a deep-seeded tradition of success and a rich history to carry them from season to season, even though a given player is only around for just four or five years.
Boston schools have an immense amount of work ahead if they want to sit among the sport’s elite, but essentially starting from scratch in a field of already-established titans will bound them to a life of the mid-level opponent to the other 343 Division-I schools.

Monday, November 19, 2012

The Blue Deuce is Drunk

Yeah, we couldn't let this one slide by before the break.

Brad Keselowski, 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion, celebrated his win with his crew, his fans and his Miller Lite.  This is his interview post-race on a live edition of Sportscenter.  Absolutely amazing.

"I don't know if these people know they're on Sportscenter, but later tonight they're gonna say, 'hey, that was me!'" he said as he attempted to rile up the fans in response to a question about the fans and his crew.

The best lines came when Keselowski went to close the interview.  Kevin Connors, the ESPN anchor congratulated him once again on his achievements and wished him a safe night of celebrations, to which the Blue Deuce responded to so elegantly.

"Thank you, guys.  Miller time! ESPN, NASCAR, thank you," he said as he cheers'd the camera and the viewers at home.

Only in NASCAR...

Thanksgiving Break

So as many of you may have noticed, the blog has been shaky lately.  We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused in your daily reading routines, but rest assured, we have a plan.

Thanksgiving, easily the best holiday, is coming up fast.  A lot of pieces are moving around the blog, but when we return, we'll be hitting the ground running.  Expect a lot of commercial battles, college basketball pieces, MLB hot stove updates and anything else you're looking to read, because it'll all be here.

So, enjoy the video above, and enjoy your Thanksgivings. A few posts will sneak in here and there, but after the holiday will be the fireworks. We'll see you soon, amigos.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Neymar Misses Penalty Kick, Pretty Sure I Could Have Nailed This One

Well, this is embarrassing...

Brazilian's star player Neymar was lining up for a penalty shot in a friendly against Columbia played at MetLife Stadium in New York when this happened.  The goal could have given Brazil a one goal edge with 10 minutes remaining in the match, but instead, Neymar did his best Adam Vinatieri impression, blasting the ball at least 50 rows up.

I didn't think it was even possible for the ball to rise as fast as it did, but there's the proof.  Neymar did have a defense prepared for this miserable shot, though.

"The penalty was horrible but you probably noticed the state the pitch was in, it didn't have any stability," he said. ”I tried to take it slowly but it didn't work out, these things happen."

Nate Robinson Goes Under Defender

Nasty Nate Robinson, all five-foot-nine of him, is a three-time Slam Dunk Champion and has some serious moves on the court.  His latest showcase of talent came on the road against the Phoenix Suns.

Showing good movement off the ball, Robinson shakes his defender Sebastian Telfair.  When Nasty Nate gets the ball, he pump fakes and throws Telfair for a loop, who bites and jumps in the air.  Telfair, only six feet tall himself, gets up enough for Robinson to slip right under and finish off the play for two on the lay-in.

Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.  Too bad as far as weekly top plays go, this doesn't hold a candle to Ibrahimovic's bicycle kick.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Ibrahimovic Scores Best Goal Probably Ever

I mean, what's there to say about this goal?  It's absolutely unreal that the ball found its way to the back of the net.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic could have either landed flat and broke himself, or scored one of the prettiest goals that this planet will ever see.  As if this goal isn't good enough on its own, Ibrahimovic had already scored three goals prior, and was the only Swedish player to score in a 4-2 friendly win over England.


Blockbuster Trade Developing Between Jays and Marlins Involving Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson

Multiple sources have confirmed talks between the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins regarding a mega-deal that would cause even more of a stir in the AL East across both leagues.

The Marlins are reportedly packaging shortstop Jose Reyes, pitchers Mark Buerhle and Josh Johnson, outfielder Emilio Bonifacio and catcher John Buck to send north of the border.  In return, the Blue Jays are trading shortstops Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria, catcher Jeff Mathis, starting pitcher Henderson Alvarez and prospects including Jake Marisnick, Justin Nicolini and Anthony DeSclafani.

If this deal is made official, the Marlins will have officially traded away 12 of their 25 starters from 2012 Opening Day, including their entire infield, not to mention their new manager Mike Redmond has almost nothing to work with.  Up north, picking the right manager will be even more crucial now after John Farrell signed on with the Red Sox.

Outfielder Giancarlo Stanton, the team's last remaining beacon of hope, tweeted yesterday, "All right, I'm pissed!!!! Plain & Simple."  Keeping him as well as the fans happy in Miami will be no cakewalk.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Red Bull Doing Whatever It Is Red Bull Does

We're past the halfway point of ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon and at halftime of the St. John's-Detroit game.  Hopefully everyone's hanging in there, I know things are getting tough over here.

But, to get you through halftime, and maybe give you a little pick-me-up if you're into this sort of thing, here's another video from the wide world of Red Bull.  Its a life-size Mouse Trap set up, complete with all Red Bull sponsored athletes.  I tried to stop watching at least eight or nine times, but I couldn't look away.

Almost Halfway Through Tip-Off Marathon, If You Don't Know Now You Know

At 11 a.m. on Tuesday, we are almost halfway through ESPN's Tip-Off Marathon. Last night's New Mexico-Davidson battle was the best game of the tournament by far, with plenty more games looking to take that title today.

Gonzaga got things started with a bang last night, unfortunately it didn't make for a great game, but UNM-Davidson more than made up for that.  The Lobos came back from 16 down early to close the door with a five point win.  In the dead of night, it had me stifling my excitement so as to not wake my roommates.

The lull was for the Hawaii-Houston Baptist and Stony Brook-Rider, which Hawaii and Stony Brook secured in two uninspired games.  The blog was back on the scene at 8:30 this morning, and will be right here if anything crazy should come up the rest of the day.

Tonight promises to provide two of the more exciting match-ups in the coming weeks.  Powerhouses Michigan State and Kansas meet up, then hand the court over to Duke and Kentucky.  Kansas should handle Michigan State in the first game, as the Spartans are probably still woozy from a battle with UConn overseas.  The second game will be a ball fight right from the get-go, but Duke's experience, coupled with the "unstoppability" of Seth Curry and Mason Plumlee will give them a healthy halftime lead going into a dominant second half from the Blue Devils.

Stay tuned on ESPN, and check back for updates throughout the day here or on Twitter @JonToddVanDamme.